To consider the statement of the Leader of the Council setting out the Council’s report and programme for the current municipal year.
Councillor R H Siddall, Leader of the council (the Leader) made a statement (attached at APPENDIX 1 to these Minutes) setting out the Council’s report and programme for the remainder of the municipal year. The statement referred to a number of areas, including:
· The recent District Council elections and the opportunity it provided for different political groups to work together in the best interests of the Council, its residents, and the District. He advised that how the different political groups were not working together and had found a solution for administering the Council.
· The Local Government Association’s (LGA) recent work with the Council, recommendations coming forward from a recent Finance Peer Review undertaken and future work planned with the LGA, Members and Officers.
· The need to support officers in the delivery of their roles and for the District. He referred to the recent structure changes within the Service Delivery directorate and the benefits this would bring.
· A new Customer Service Strategy was being worked on and the Leader referred to the importance of how residents contacted and interacted with the Council.
· The financial pressures on the Authority and the ongoing work in relation to this.
· The Local Development Plan (LDP) and how it gave Members opportunity to shape the future of the District and the need to create a sustainable District. Including improving its link to wider infrastructure and working with Partners to deliver this.
· Building connections to Town and Parish Council, which would help build a community network across the District.
· The Council’s Corporate Plan for 2023 to 2027 set out the Council’s vision, priorities and guiding principles.
· Working with other Local Authorities would help the Council to engage and improve the delivery of services both in the District and across Essex.
The Leader explained his aim was to put politics aside and ensure that the Council worked hard to support the challenges residents were facings through these hard times. He referred to the Council’s vision (where quality of life matters) and the need to delivery on this and provide sustainability for residents, businesses, the environment and partners.
The Chairman advised that there were currently two Leaders of the Opposition and he would allow both to response to the statement made by the Leader of the Council.
Councillor J Driver, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, advised how his Group would work constructively with other political groups to enable the Council to function and had supported the Leader of the Maldon District Independent Group leading the administration. Councillor Driver highlighted some of the issues facing the Maldon District and how in order for improvements to occur the Council needed to function effectively with all Political Groups working together.
Councillor J C Stilts, Leader of the Maldon District Support Group, advised the Council that her Group were not aligned with the Maldon District Independent Group and looked forward to working with the other Groups. The Maldon District Support Group would work for the people of Maldon, businesses and customers to ensure they got the best service and value the Council could deliver. It would challenge the administration, including the Medium-Term Financial Strategy. Working with Officers to achieve balanced budgets along with Members to meet the aims and visions of the corporate plan
At this point, Councillor W Stamp requested that the Chairperson consider allowing Councillor Morgan (Leader of the Conservative Group) to respond to the statement of the Leader of the council. She asked that her request be Minuted.
On consideration of the request, the Chairperson invited Councillor Morgan to speak. Councillor Morgan advised how the Conservative Group would stand for Conservative principles but had a responsibility towards the residents in their respective Wards. Referring specifically to the Local Development Plan and devolution Councillor Morgan advised that the Conservative Group would work constructively together with the other Group to make sure that Maldon District Council moved forward.
Councillors S White and L L Wiffen leave the chamber during this item of business and do not return.